We’re going to try something different for the March edition of the 1stfans Twitter Art Feed. Instead of featuring an artist, we’re going to feature Jennifer Bantz, who is the Interpretive Materials Manager here at the Museum. We have two primary reasons for doing this. The first is that Jenny has possibly the coolest job in the building, which she describes below. I think what makes it interesting is that she works with almost every department on behalf of the visitor, and, as a result, she’s exposed to as many types of tasks as there are visitor perspectives. Sharing Jenny’s work with 1stfans makes sense not only because they are museum visitors but also because, presumably, have an interest in seeing how their support is put to use, especially for those that can’t make it to Brooklyn—think of this as an ongoing virtual meetup.
The second reason we’re featuring a staff member this month is because, quite frankly, we’re having a difficult time finding artists for the Feed, and we think that there are more people than just strictly artists who can offer something unique and worthwhile on Twitter. Even though we have an open call, Twitter Art Feed is a tough concept to explain, and a tough thing to ask artists to really think about, create a proposal for, and then devote a month to doing (for free, I might add). In addition, we have a selection process that involves me, Shelley, and Eugenie Tsai, our John and Barbara Vogelstein Curator of Contemporary Art, reviewing proposals and deciding what makes the most sense for 1stfans and for the Museum. Shelley and I agree that we’d rather feature someone who can tweet out cool stuff than simply someone that we can convince to do this for a month. So 1stfans, let us know what you think and here’s a little more from Jenny, in her own words:
My task here is to plan and implement the Museum’s program of interpretation with the visitor experience in mind, working in collaboration with staff from Curatorial, Education, Design, Technology, Editorial and others — a big job, and one whose goals and responsibilities shift, depending on the team involved and the project at hand. The great thing about having a job with some flexibility is that you never know what you might be up to on a given day; the tough part is trying to describe to people what, exactly, it is that you do. But here’s a snapshot of a Monday:
Read through visitor comments submitted at kiosks over the weekend
Chat with a partner institution about an audio guide for the upcoming Warhol exhibition
Revise a proof for a To Live Forever family activity and return to Editorial and Design
Check in on supplies of The Dinner Pary gallery guide and talk with guards about how they’re being used
Meet with fellow exhibitions staff to discuss image use and current projects
Pull together statistics on recent cell phone audio guide use for a Development staff member
Meet with educators about accessibility efforts like touch tours and transcripts
Review curator’s responses to suggested changes to wall text for the upcoming American High Style exhibition
Since both my job and the Museum’s mission are focused on our visitors’ experiences, that seems like the best way to focus this month’s tweets. I may comment a bit about what I’m working on, but mostly I’d like to pull together lots of tiny notes about what visitors are actually doing in the Museum, based on a kind of informal observation and guerrilla evaluation: what did we prepare and why, how do people seem to be using it, and what would we do going forward? Are there other questions, or things you’d want to hear about? Let me know in the comments for this post. Looking forward to it.
The 1stfans Twitter Art Feed is no longer a benefit of 1stfans membership, but the original feed in its entirety has been archived on the Brooklyn Museum website.
Will Cary was the Brooklyn Museum's Membership Manager from January 2008 to May 2010. In addition to making sure all Brooklyn Museum Members got the most out of their Membership, he also developed the 1stfans Membership program in order to grow the Museum’s community of supporters. Before joining the Brooklyn Museum in January 2008, Will worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Will graduated from Williams College with a degree in Art History and Economics. Will now works in Membership at the Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Maine.